The Book

Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different, edited by Rishi Dastidar and Maisie Lawrence, is an anthology of new poems from MPK members over the last two decades to celebrate our 20th anniversary. The book is published by Corsair and can be ordered from our store on bookshop.org where you can also buy other books written and edited by the Kitchen family.
Disclosure: MPK is an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.


‘We knew that black and brown bodies, working class voices, women’s voices, did not have a space where they could be heard – and so this writing collective was a necessary and political act.’

In the early years of the new millennium, poets Malika Booker and Roger Robinson saw the need for a space for writers outside of the establishment to grow, improve, discuss and learn. One Friday night, Malika offered her Brixton kitchen table as a meeting place. And so Malika’s Poetry Kitchen was born.

‘Kitchen’, as it became known, has ushered in a new generation of voices, launching some of the most exciting writers, books and initiatives in British poetry in the past twenty years. Today, Kitchen is a thriving writers’ collective, with a wealth of talented poets and branches in Chicago and India.

Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different is a celebration of Kitchen’s legacy, an appreciation of its foundational spirit and a rallying cry for all writers to dream the future. The collection features breathtaking new poems by Warsan Shire, Inua Ellams, Kayo Chingonyi, Dean Atta, Roger Robinson, Malika Booker among many others.

Read an extract of Daniel Kramb‘s history, courtesy of Foyles.

Praise for Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different

“This magnificent book is a celebration of community, collectivism, reading, rereading, learning, talking, thinking, drafting and redrafting. Above all it’s a song of praise to the power of poetry to remind us who we are and who we can become. This kitchen cooks.”
Ian McMillan

Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different, is a critical and urgent moment in the necessarily self-conscious process of un-disappearing that the chronicling of the contribution of black people in the world must do.  Malika’s Kitchen is as much a gift to poets of color in the UK as it is a gift to British poetry, to its bettering of self, to its long march to redefining itself through the corrective process of being more inclusive.  British poetry has been improved by Malika’s Kitchen, and this anthology is a loud proclamation of the aesthetic value of embracing difference.”
Kwame Dawes

“For two decades now, British poetry has been flavoured by the products of Malika’s Kitchen. Without that Kitchen we would have been blander; we would not have understood as deeply, how much craft and urgency and ambition belong in the same pot. Gather now at this most important table. Sit. Feast.”
Kei Miller

“This collection is a testament to the impact of a silent literary revolution that began in a kitchen in Brixton in 2001 and it serves as a blueprint for all grassroot writing initiatives who are trying to have longevity in terms of decades of change making and artistic support.”
Malika Booker

“[The Muscogee poet] Joy Harjo says that the world begins at a kitchen table. The world begun at Malika’s is a brave new one. Over twenty wonderful years, this Friday night rite has welcomed a collective which “does not draw lines. If you’re on the margins, trying to get in, you’re welcome.” 
This celebration of Kitchen’s first two decades puts the margins at the centre. And those voices take the stage in triumph. 
Like the best kitchens, Malika’s fills and satisfies with a mixture of the raw and the sizzling. The tastes are new, the fusion is fun and the heat is transformative.”
Samuel West